Benefits of probiotics for kids

July 28, 2009 2:44:28 PM PDT
A new study is showing the benefits of probiotics for kids.There's been a lot of buzz about probiotics, that's the friendly bacteria found in many yogurts and cereals.

Now a new study shows they can help prevent flu symptoms in kids.

The study shows 18-percent of kids taking two kinds of probiotics had a fever over a 6-month time span, compared to 66-percent not taking probiotics.

And one-third of kids taking one probiotic had a cough or runny nose versus more than 80-percent of kids taking nothing.

The study was funded by a company that makes and profits off of probiotic products.

But many experts, including Jennifer Fanega, a holistic health counselor in South Philadelphia, say the results are believable.

"Since 80-percent of our immunity is in our gut, it's not surprising taking probiotics will help our immunity and help kids fight off colds and flu."

Still some studies have shown no real benefit to taking probiotics. Monday's study was done in China. Many would like to see it done here by an independent party. And doctors caution this should not replace basic flu prevention.

"Namely getting vaccinated, washing hands, avoiding people that are sick and if your sick yourself or your child is sick keeping that child at home," said Dr. William Shaffner.

And although doctors want to see more scientific evidence, many do believe probiotics can also help adults fight off many types of problems.

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